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Spelman Founders Day Student Festival

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Spelman Hosts Octavia Butler Conference

Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 to Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018

  • Spelman College, Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D., Academic Center
Octavia Butler ConferenceSpelman College will host the 2nd Biennial Octavia Butler Conference on Feb 23-25, to honor the life and literary contributions of world-renowned science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler. The conference features Tananarive Due and Spelman College Geffen Artist-In-Residence Toshi Reagon.

Known for her groundbreaking work as a woman and African American in the genre of science fiction, Butler’s novels examine race, sex, power and what it means to be human.

“There’s an incredible amount of interest in her work, particularly in the environmental and social justice movement,” said Tarshia Stanley, Ph.D., director of Spelman’s Honors Program and president of the Octavia E. Butler Literary Society.

With strong complex heroines at the center of her stories, Butler portrayed life in dystopian worlds with incisive meditations on power dynamics and community building between colliding populations of humans, mentally enhanced humans and alien species.

Her first novel “Patternmaster,” published in 1976, became part of her four-volume Patternist series. In the late 1980s, she published her Xenogenesis trilogy (“Dawn,” “Adulthood Rites” and “Imago”), which explored issues of genetics and race. Other books include “Parable of the Sower” of the two-book Parable series, “Bloodchild” and “Kindred.”

“There’s something to be learned from Butler’s heroines and the way they lead. All her heroines are young women of color, and they have to figure out how we overcome challenges in future spaces and dystopian worlds,” said Stanley. “Butler totally understands the way we think as human beings. Her work is instrumental in helping us figure out who we are going to be as we move forward and what kind of people are we going to be. I hope people who don’t know her work will see how scholars use her work in the academy.”

The conference paper sessions are free and open to the public, however, pre-registration is required. To register, email: All sessions will be held in the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Ed.D. Academic Center (350 Spelman Lane, Atlanta 30314. GPS Address: 440 Westview Drive, Atlanta 30310).

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